Sunday, September 7, 2008

Father's Day Part 1 (Beaches - Balmoral Beach, Sydney)

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there! And hope that you all had a good day of rest and relaxation. The weather today was absolutely perfect, with the sun shining happily and a cool breeze keeping us cool... ahhh spring is here ^^! (Too bad this did not happen yesterday for the markets :( but it was at least good for Father's Day) Even though the weather was delightful, our plans of a round of golf was canceled due to the course being too wet from the previous rain and so we went for a stroll around Balmoral Beach instead.

Balmoral Beach is very serene with the waves rolling over the sandy hills and the sounds of children playing merrily among themselves. There are also quite a few cute doggies being taken for a stroll.

I like palm trees.. just gives off such a tropical feel.

Lavenders on the side of the footpath.

Spot the moon!

After checking out a few of the other cafes and restaurants and finding out that there is a 30 minute to 1 hour wait we came across this reasonable looking place Beaches Restaurant.

It looked and seemed pleasant enough so we asked if there was a table free and got told that the inside is mostly booked out and there is one outside on the footpath.

After being seated to the table that was when the trouble started. It took the waiter about 10 minutes to bring us the menu and there was only a Happy Father's Day menu of 2 courses and glass of champagne for Dad ($55) or 3 courses and glass of champagne for Dad ($60). We all opted for 3 course meal since it was only 5 dollars extra so worth it.

Being seated outside is always harder to get the attention of the waiting staff but this was getting a bit ridiculous, we had to send one person in to get their attention. After we ordered we then spent 30 minutes waiting on the cutlery and the bread rolls. Then a further 10 minutes after that we had to go in and get the attention of the waiting staff again to ask them if there were any free tables inside because there was a chilly breeze outside and sitting there for half an hour was getting a bit too much.

They told us they were fully booked inside but then the manager came back and decided to squeeze us on the second floor. As I walked through I could see about 3 or 4 tables that could have seated us that were empty and 2 other smaller tables. After being seated the entrees came.

Duck & Citrus Salad (a confit of shredded duck with avocado, rocket & citrus segments served with a citrus vinaigerette)

Scallops served in the shell (with fennel & leek puree & topped with crispy bacon)
These scallops mixed with the creamy puree was a very good start to the meal.

We could tell that they served our entrees before some of the other customers mostly likely because we seemed a bit irritated and the slow service. Then after we cleaned off the entrees, the waiting game started again. The service is not really bad bad because the waiting staff are friendly in those small windows of meeting but they were either really really busy (but it didn't seem so to us) or they just forgot what we asked for. We had to ask for bread and water a few times before we actually got it. Finally after another long wait our mains came out.

Barramundi fillets (with baby spinach & warm mediterranean vegetables salad served with a tomato and olive vinaigrette)
The fish was very soft and the flavours all work very well together.

Lamb shanks (on green pea mash and roasted beetroot served with a Shiraz jus & beetroot reduction)
This dish was amazing, the meat fell off the bone and was very soft and tender. The beetroot was rich and sweet in flavour and the mash was a bit lumpy but added very nicely to the lamb. The jus was a bit thick and intense in flavour but when mixed with the mash and the meat it was just right.

Fig & honey creme brulee (served with pistachio tuille)

Seasonal berries & fruits (with sorbet and raspberry coulis)

We were quite surprised to see them bring over the Seasonal berries & fruits as we ordered 4 creme brulees. But since we did not want to wait anymore at this place we just accepted the other dessert. It was a good to try both of the desserts though and the fruits were very fresh. The creme brulee was cold and only reasonable, though he fig gave it a nice touch.

My verdict for this place is that the food is good especially the lamb shanks BUT the service of this place needs a do-over. We came up with some possibilities about the long delay in service and the one we settled on was that there was only one person working in the kitchen. The long delay in food still baffles me because there is a set menu on this day so why would it take so long if they jsut making the same things over and over. The waiting staff may also need some re-training as well to provide some better service.

I am definitely hoping that the service we had was a one off thing but I have a feeling I won't be going back to find out anytime soon.

Part 2 coming soon!

Beaches Restaurant
51 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach
Ph: (02) 9969 7704



Anonymous said...

That's just near where I live :) The photos look great, especially the lamb shanks and the scallops. Pity about the service, it always seems to suffer during Father's and Mother's Day. We had an awful meal tonight at a place that is usually reliably good.

Kate / Kajal said...

Wow, these pictures are gr8 and the food looks fantastic.Nice review.

D said...

I usually opt for the creme brulee if it's on the menu when we're ordering dessert - but that seasonal berries & fruit looks very enticing as well haha....

Anonymous said...

NQN - Ooohh bet you have an awesome view then haha. Looking forward to your post about that meal then.

Kate/Kajal - Hee hee thhhxx but no where as good as yours! Slowing improving hopefully haha.

D - Both were about the same so it was good to have tried them.

TaGa_Luto said...

Amazing pictures!!! I like that citrus salad!! since i can't go to this restaurant perhaps i can make my own version of that salad. The lamb looks scrumptious too!

Anonymous said...

Taga_Luto - Your such a whizz in the kitchen I am sure you will make an excellent salad just remember to post ;) lamb was very succulent mmm ^^!